THE Jason Mackay-trained Zipping Saxon is the fastest qualifier for the 2015 Group 2 Maitland Cup after clocking an airborne 24.91 in his heat on Friday night.
Stepping well from box one, the son of Spring Gun and Agent Gibbs rolled straight to the early lead from Pierro Kade (box two) and Winsome Jacko (box four), with his opponents unable to keep up with the fawn powerhouse as he swung for home. Upon straightening, Zipping Saxon slipped into another gear, speeding away to score by four-and-one-quarter-lengths over Winsome Jacko, with the most impressive part of the performance being his mind-boggling 6.58 run home over the 450-metre trip.
Zipping Saxon, which started odds on favourite, has now won four races from 14 starts with nine minor placings.
The second heat was a nail-biter, with early leader Jack Kade (box six) going stride for stride with Loren Harborne’s Chasing The Line (box five) in the run to the post. Jack Kade, trained by Jodie Lord, got the nod from the judge after a tight photo finish, booking his spot in the feature in 25.37.
The third qualifier was an open affair, with La Grand Logie (box one) and the speedy Queen Charlie (box two) vying for favouritism, with the former winning the battle both in the betting ring and on the track. Despite leading from box rise, Queen Charlie was unable to hold on at the finish, with La Grand Logie storming home to snare the win by a head in a fast 25.17. The son of El Grand Señor and Oh Em Gee is building up a fantastic record for trainer Jeff Eaton, with nine wins and six minor placings from 21 career starts.
Tullabung Honey (box eight) was searching for her fourth win at start five in the fourth heat, with punters confident of a good show — sending her to the boxes as the $3.40 top elect. When the lids flew open, Miss Migaro (box five) and Kula Dee Jay (box two) took the early lead, but came together repeatedly around the first turn, allowing Syd Swain’s Silver Label (box three) to rail through and hit the front. Silver Label kicked clear in the run to the line, registering 25.39 ahead of Fab Surfy (box four) and Tullabung Honey.
Thrilling speedster Silent Effective (box seven) looked the one to beat in the fifth heat first up from a spell, with a sensational 24.93 personal best over the track and distance. However, up and coming sprinter Camacho (box five) was the one that proved too good, spearing out of box five to take the early lead and sprint clear. Despite Silent Effective’s best efforts, he could only get within one-and-one-quarter-lengths of Camacho on the line, with the winner clocking a handy 25.31.
Spacecraft was the class runner in the sixth qualifier and was sent out as the $1.70 favourite from box three. The regally-bred son of Brett Lee and Critalle came into the event after a last start second in the Group 3 Ambrosoli at Wentworth Park, but adapted well being back to the one turn track, pinging the lids and going straight to the front. Nothing could keep up with Lorraine Atchison’s gun chaser turning for home as he sped to the line with a winning break of seven lengths, scoring in 25.01.
Black Frenzy (box six) was aiming to keep his unbeaten record intact in the penultimate heat for Jason Mackay, having won five from five going into the Cup series. Stepping fairly, the black son of Fabregas and Rose Baby got into second position around the first turn before railing underneath Abunda (box eight) and kicking clear. Mark Davidson’s Bundy Bear (box seven) put in a fantastic run at 19-1 to run second, but Black Frenzy was simply too classy, clocking 25.21.
Punters had been pretty much on the money the entire night heading into the last heat and the trend looked set to continue with Megan Keeping starting the odds on favourite from box one. The daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Indigo Gem missed the kick from the rails draw and was never out of trouble, with Jonny Sledzianowski’s the one to catch out in front at the massive odds of $48.10. Nothing could take ground off the 38 kilogram heavyweight in the home straight, running 25.47 to book his spot in the final at start 46.
The final of the 2015 Group 2 Maitland Cup will be run next Friday night in the Hunter Valley, offering $40,000 to winning connections.
Group 2 Maitland Cup box draw
1 – Zipping Saxon – Jason Mackay
2. Camacho – Ron Bell
3 – Jack Kade – Jodie Lord
4 – Altered Miss – Jonny Sledzianowski
5 – Silver Label – Syd Swain
6 – La Grand Logie – Jeff Eaton
7 – Spacecraft – Lorraine Atchison
8 – Black Frenzy – Jason Mackay
9 – Winsome Jacko – Melinda Finn
10 – Queen Charlie – Leo Vanderburg